James Tomkins says it's good to be back after the Hammers returned from their summer break this week to begin their preparations for the new campaign.

Immediately after reporting for duty at Chadwell Heath, the squad flew out to France for a week-long training camp which will see them undertake double and triple training sessions daily as they build their sharpness up.

The trip to France is the ideal opportunity for new signings Cheikhou Kouyate, Mauro Zarate and Aaron Cresswell to blend into a tight-knit team group and Tomkins says they are integrating well.

"It's been a good trip so far," he explained. "We've had a bit of a work-out the last few days, training in the morning and some core work in the afternoon.

"The facilities here are really good, everyone's enjoying themselves and we're starting to feel the good team spirit for the season ahead.

"The legs aren't feeling too bad, they're probably taking it a little easy on us at the moment! Things are going to get harder, but it has been nice to see the lads back together after the summer and seeing how they're doing.

"The new boys have just got here, so all the lads have been helping them settle in. They seem like a good bunch and that's what it is about at the minute, being all together."

Tomkins is keen to hit the ground running in 2014/15 and he knows how important pre-season will be to achieve that aim.

He said: "The aim for this part of pre-season is to get the legs going again after that break over the summer. You do lose a bit of fitness and it can take a bit of time to get back in the swing of things, so that's what we're trying to do.

"Training has been good so far. It's nice to have the ball involved, the lads appreciate that, and we're doing our core and strength in the afternoon so it's a good set-up.

"It's important to get that fitness back as quickly as you can and obviously be ready for the games when we get back home.

"We've got a good schedule planned and everyone wants to show what they can do in pre-season."

Tomkins enjoyed a strong 2013/14 campaign on a personal level, featuring in 30 league games for a defence which kept 14 top flight clean sheets, and he sees that as a good base to build from this year.

He added: "For me it was nice to have a good run of games last year. I played about 30-odd games which was good for my experience, playing that number of games in the Premier League.

"I want to build on that again and start well next season. That's the most important thing now, to concentrate on working hard in pre-season and being fresh and ready to go on 16 August."